I’m not the biggest fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I mean, I appreciate him and his body of work but as far as musicals go, I prefer some dialogue in between my songs. That doesn’t stop me from checking out any of his shows though – well, not if they star Ricky Martin , who was Che in the Broadway revival of Evita. You couldn’t drag me to that production.
In this national tour of Evita (now playing in San Diego), the producers thankfully ditch the stunt casting and hired some powerhouse actors for the roles of Eva, Peron and Che.
You know the story of Evita, I’m sure: Eva Perón rises from the slums of Argentina to become the First Lady of the country all the while singing songs that you will be humming for the rest of the week; “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Buenos Aires,” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”
This version of Evita isn’t the same as earlier versions you may have seen. They’ve changed things around, most notably being that Che isn’t Che Guevara. He’s just a guy named Che here and I think it makes the show much more interesting. Che is narrating the story more or less and when you have a narrator, it helps if you can relate to him. It just makes sense that the audience can relate to a guy named Che than the iconic Che Guevara. And it helps when you have someone like Josh Young (nominated for a Tony in Jesus Christ Superstar) in the role.
The show is everything you want in a Broadway tour; big cast, nice sets and wonderful actors with booming voices.
Caroline Bowman makes a fine Evita. She doesn’t seem to be playing it up as a diva, which I thought was nice because that’s been done over and over. She has a beautiful voice and I think in any other production she would absolutely be the focus but unfortunately, she’s got to work alongside Young. If you want to see someone knock a role out of the park, you must see him as Che. From the second he walks on stage, he just takes over. He’s got a stellar voice and with his commanding presence, I found myself searching the stage to see what he was doing even when he was in the background of a scene.
Again, this is not to take away from Bowman’s or Sean MacLaughlin’s (Peron) performances. They are both tremendous have superb voices. But if you need one, just one reason to see this show, Josh Young is that reason.
Evita is currently playing in San Diego. For tickets, click here. Upcoming tour dates include San Jose, Las Vegas and Tempe, AZ. For more tour dates and ticket information, click here.